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Outstanding contribution to financial services: The Shoman family

Three generations have built Arab Bank into one of the region’s best financial institutions.

awards-excellence-200pxa.gif Very few financial firms are as synonymous with one family as Arab Bank. Over three generations, the Shomans have built it up to become one of the foremost institutions in the Middle East and North Africa, with a presence in 30 countries and more than 500 branches spanning five continents.

Last year the bank posted a pre-tax profit of $782.8 million and total assets reached $50.6 billion.

The Arab Bank story begins nearly 20 years before it was founded, in 1911 when Abdul Hameed Shoman emigrated to the US with $32 in his pocket. He first found success as a door-to-door salesman in New York before eventually running a thriving textiles business. During his years there he was struck by the importance of the banking system to the development of the US economy and society. In the Middle East no such system existed. Indeed, only one local bank served the region – Banque Misr, founded in Cairo in 1920.

Abdul Hameed decided that his mission in life was to establish a bank that could serve the needs of all Arabs. He returned to Palestine to make his dream a reality.

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